Dearest readers, welcome to my first edition of Come Read With Me 03.2021. This is the renamed version of my former book review series Title Talk. Had the brilliant idea today to change the name from TT to Come Read With Me, which is the name of my online book club. Which was originally just named Our Online Book Club until I had the brilliant idea to name it after the televised children’s reading program I did for 10 years here in El Paso. Like some kind of crazy life cycle. Or food chain!!
Come Read With Me 03.2021
I am embarrassed about how long it has been since I did a book review post. When I started this blog, I thought it would mostly be an outlet for me to share book reviews and lesson plans. Like an extension or continuation of my librarian career. But the blog kind of floundered around and I lost sight of my original direction. Or maybe that direction changed?
I have been thinking a lot about that. About where I want to take the blog now. Or maybe where I hope the blog will take me. Stay tuned for more coming soon.
In the meantime, allow me to share some of the books I have enjoyed reading lately. Most of them with my book club. This month we voted to read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I am just getting started listening to it. Julia Whelan narrates this title and also narrated Educated by Tara Westover. Struggling to keep the 2 stories straight in my mind.
Here are some of my favorite reads lately. Come read with me…
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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This novel is peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but it is also very much about being black in contemporary America. This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American story. Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
4.40 out of 5 stars on Amazon
3.96 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
My thoughts: In most of the books I read, there is that one character that speaks most to me. With whom I can best relate. But the characters in Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage were all special. Very real. And the situation that binds them is heart wrenching. I was rooting for all of the characters to find their happiness. Didn’t know how it would end till THE END. Check out the Goodreads summary, here.
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
Harmel brilliantly imagines the life of a young Polish-French Jewish woman during the depths of WWII…Harmel movingly illustrates Eva’s courage to risk her own life for others, and all of the characters are portrayed with realistic compassion. This thoughtful work will touch readers with its testament to the endurance of hope.
― Publishers Weekly (starred review)
4.70 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.36 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
My thoughts: I’ve never met a Holocaust story I didn’t like. If one can truly like stories about the atrocities of tht horrific time. The Book of Lost Friends was no exception. As a semi-retired librarian I felt a connection to the main character Eva Traube Abrams. But the connection was not immediate. Eva is swept back to her past life upon seeing a photograph in a magazine in the library where she works. And it is interesting the way the story comes full circle as do the characters. Read more on Goodreads, here.
The Book of Lost Names by Lisa Wingate
Emphasizing throughout that stories matter and should never go untold, [Lisa] Wingate has written an absorbing historical for many readers. . . . Enthralling and ultimately heartening.
4.50 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.19 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
My thoughts: This novel spoke to me on so many levels. As a fan of historical fiction, I was immediately hooked just on its premise. The author has taken actual advertisements placed in Southern newspapers by freed slaves looking for lost family members and created an unforgettable story around them. A story that ties the main character, a struggling first year teacher, with past generations of her students’ families. I listened to this book on Audible. The narration was excellent. I laughed and I cried. I loved it. Find the summary on Goodreads, here.
The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey
A charming story about the way that connecting with others can heal a broken spirit…Fans of Fredrik Backman and Rachel Joyce will enjoy this uplifting (but never saccharine) “coming of old” story.
—Library Journal (starred review)
4.30 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.09 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
My thoughts: It seems librarians are having a moment in adult fiction right now. Missy Carmichael is…yup, a retired librarian. She rambles about all alone in her much-too-large home with too much idle time and regret. Until she has a chance encounter with a trio of random strangers – 2 human, 1 canine – that brings color back to her life. An uplifting read for anyone (all of us) who have doubts about our purpose in life. Questions about what we should be doing. Check out the Goodreads summary, here.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
—Booklist (starred review)
4.40 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.20 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
My thoughts: This book bothered me. It made me think. And my book club discussed this title more than any other we have read together. On the eve of her attempted suicide, Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library where she is given an opportunity to revisit chapters of her life in an alternate universe. With the option of remaining in a version of life that appeals to her. Favorite quote from the book: “Never underestimate the big importance of small things.” See what Goodreads says, here.
What are you reading these days? Have you found more time for reading during this crazy Covid crisis? I always read whatever the book club votes on, then usually something else that has caught my eye, and some children’s books thrown in for good measure. I’m a slow, distracted reader so Audible has been a blessing. Like listening to my own personal play being performed between my ears!!
Thank you for coming by, sweet friends. I appreciate your visits, your comments and your friendship. Enjoy the weekend.
Hugs and kisses,